Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sinatra speaks a different language, Perl

So, if it has become obvious to some, I have a thing for web frameworks. I like to understand how and why they work, and for me that usually involves more than just reading the source code. My first attempt was different variations of Puddy -- Rails/Merb like framework in Perl. The second iteration has led me down the path of the Ruby Sinatra framework.

Sinatra is a minimalist framework for creating web applications. Its scope really only extends into realm of controllers. It does support views, but it is still far from the enormous support that Rails would provide in options. The controller aspect allows you to define the route in method call of the action -- often causing your entire application to be just one file. I have used it to experiment with building APIs for some of my projects.

In short, its a light, quick, and not at all a memory hog, so of course I wanted to dissect it. This lead me to just reading the source code, but I wanted to do more to understand how it worked. I should inform you that I do indeed know Ruby. I've used it on a daily basis for the past 2 years for my job(s) and have used well beyond just the Rails environment. Now, I have also been a big supporter of Perl, mainly because it was my first language beyond good old Q-BASIC.

With that in mind, I would like introduce a project that I have been working on Sinatra for Perl. Yes, it is a work in progress, but I have put a lot of effort into making sure that this code base was some what solid before I released it to the world. In the repository, a working example can be found and run on your local machine of the feature set.

I like the ease of of extending Sinatra in either Ruby and now Perl. I have added simple extensions to support page caching, running tasks from command line, and a simple background job server. Many of these are lacking optimizations, but I just wanted to show the ease of extending the framework.

The simplest example of a Sinatra app:


#!/usr/bin/env perl
require 'lib/sinatra.pl';

use strict;

get('', {}, sub{
return 'Hello World';
});

get(':name', {}, sub{
my $r = shift;
return 'Hello, ' . $r->params->{name};
});
A simple DSL that defines what action to perform on a route. LOVE IT!

This has been an educational experience (albeit a nerdy one) and I hope to continue on this project. I think I will probably have to go through a name change in the near feature as not to confuse people on the Ruby version.

1 comment:

beppu said...

You might be interested in looking at my port of Camping to Perl.

http://github.com/beppu/squatting/tree/master